BY RICHARD CHEATHAM, DSC FOUNDATION PRESIDENT
This article is featured in the Spring 2017 issue of Game Trails, our quarterly publication for DSC members.
I don’t want to hear about “fake news” like it is some recent phenomenon. Hunters know otherwise. I don’t want to turn on one of the 24-hour news channels and see any one-sided panel discussions, “news” stories or editorials about hunting. I’m frustrated when I hear flat out lies promoted, and eventually accepted, as truth without hesitation. I refuse to let others (who don’t hunt) determine conventional wisdoms and define hunting and conservation terms.
I’m puzzled by those of us who should care enough to step up and use our voices, but don’t. I’m tired of sitting quietly while some social justice warrior who can’t find Namibia on a map offers an inane lecture on how to save animals whose names he or she can’t pronounce and utters the words “trophy hunter” with enough contempt to make even the most despicable despot recoil in shock.
I’m sick of saying, or being told, “we missed another great opportunity to convey our message.” I’ve lost patience with those among us who pretend to get it, but still choose apathetic inaction.
I appreciate those individuals who do stand up and those organizations that will speak out. I applaud those who hunt and make us all proud to revere them as examples of how to promote hunting. I’m grateful for those who give so much of their time and money to allow us to keep fighting and hopefully reach the point when we will be really, really good at the fight. It is difficult to imagine where we would be without them.
I’m elated that we find ourselves with an administration in Washington, DC that will listen to the voices of hunters and hunting conservation organizations and will revisit impractical, vague rules and regulations. I see an administration that will apply logical reasoning and common sense to the problems faced by wildlife in the US and that will accept that Africa may really know what is best for African wildlife.
We stand here today with immediate and urgent problems facing wildlife on every continent: habitat loss, rampant poaching and trafficking, expanding human populations, and a culture war that we have ignored for decades. All of these problems will undoubtedly continue to have a significant impact on hunting around the world. We act like we know better. We dismiss the concerns and minimize the problems. We naively assume that the world will come to accept hunting and sustainable use practices and embrace them as proper tools of wildlife and wilderness management strategies without having to contribute individually to the fight. We preach to the choir, oblivious to those opportunities that pass by every day to win over those who don’t share our views.
It is time to stop being ashamed or reluctant to say we hunt. It is time to speak out. We can represent hunting in a way that such a grand and cherished tradition deserves. We can teach others what it means to be a trophy hunter. We can reclaim the mantle of conservation. We can redefine conventional wisdom by educating the world on sustainable use practices. We can share our countless success stories. We can seize opportunities, working with others who are still dubious of our motives. We can remind people of the brilliance and foresight of the fathers of modern conservation in America – Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Gifford Pinchot and John Muir.
If we act soon and do it right, we can convince that vast majority in the middle that well-regulated hunting as the centerpiece of a sustainable use wildlife management policy will protect wildlife and wilderness lands for generations to come.
I am absolutely certain that millions of you feel the same way. And I am just as convinced that there is a great willingness by non-hunters to listen.
DSC Foundation is fine-tuning a multifaceted plan and implementing strategies to address each one of these identified failures and shortcomings. We have our work cut out for us. Your help is needed. No – your help is critically vital to the success of the DSC Foundation campaign and the mission of Dallas Safari Club.
Learn about DSC Foundation at www.dscf.org and help us take on the challenge.
For more than 30 years, the Dallas Safari Club’s quarterly magazine Game Trails has provided all members with the best in hunting literature, reports on industry trends, club news, convention and auction highlights, and legislative updates. To receive Game Trails, became a member today at biggame.org.